Sunday, March 30, 2014

PBS Call The Midwife and Mr. Selfridge Return Tonight

PBS Call The Midwife Season 3

Call The Midwife returns to PBS tonight for a 3rd season followed by Mr. Selfridge. It makes for a great Sunday night of TV. First in mid century London and then roll back the clock to turn of the century ( that's 1900, not the millenium) London.

Of course it also means our DVRs will be in overdrive as usual on Sunday nights. Adding 2 more great shows to that night, not to mention that BBC's Orphan Black returns in 2 weeks, as does AMC's Mad Men. Yikes!

Well it's a good problem to have, too many good things to watch!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Ford Gets It Right

Ford has just released a brilliant parody of that obnoxious commercial another car company released. The one where they couldn't have exemplified "The Ugly American" better if they had been trying. I won't even mention that car brand or give the link to the ad, because they so turned me off, I don't want to give them even the tiniest bit more traffic.

This ad stars Pashon Murray, founder of Detroit Dirt, a sustainability consultancy and advocacy group.
The ad also features a hybrid Ford C-Max. Now that's what I'm talking about.

Love that Ford is getting it right and evolving to meet us, where most of us live. Thanks Ford!

Friday, March 28, 2014

TCM Classic Film Festival Guide

TCM Classic Film Festival Sign from 2013

It is almost that time of year when Hollywood Blvd. rolls back the clock for one long weekend of classic film with the TCM Classic Film Festival. This will be my fifth year attending and I hope it will go on forever. If you are planning on attending, all I can say is be prepared for an amazing time. You will see so many living legends your mind will reel. But you want to soak up every second because all too often within a few years of their appearance at the TCM Film Festival they go on to the big casino in the sky.

Mitzi Gaynor at TCM Classic Film Festival 2013

This years schedule is chock full of screenings and events that are impossible to choose between and will have many festival goers running between The Egyptian and The Chinese theatres on Hollywood Blvd. Each year I try to give myself a theme to make my choices easier, though I make the live appearance interviews a priority, for the above mentioned reason. So without further ado here are my picks for the TCM Classic Film Fesival 2014.

Thursday April 10th 

2pm meet TCM
5pm I will make a brief appearance at the TCM Welcome Party at The Roosevelt Hotel.
5:30pm The Chinese Theatre to work the red carpet.
7pm 5th Avenue Girl
9:30pm Bachelor Mother 
*OR 9:45pm The Heiress

Friday April 11th

9am The Thin Man
OR 9:45 On Approval
12pm Grey Garden's with intro by film maker Albert Maysels
*AND OR 12:30pm A Conversation with Carl Davis who has composed a new score for the Why Worry
2pm A conversation with Richard Dreyfus by Illeana Douglas
3:15pm My Sister Eileen
*AND OR 4:00 A Conversation With William Friedkin
**Just found out A Matter Of Life and Death AKA Stairway To Heaven is playing at 3pm That will be my first pick for this time slot!
6pm Double Indemnity
*AND OR 7:15pm Why Worry
9:15pm Employees Entrance

Saturday April 12th

9am Jerry Lewis Hand Print Ceremony
11:45am I Remember Mama
3pm How Green Was My Valley
6:15 Bell Book And Candle
*AND OR 8pm Hat Check Girl
9:30pm The Women
*AND OR 10pm Her sisters Secret

Sunday April 13th

10am Sundays In New York
1pm Live From The TCM Classic Film Festival Interview with Alan Arkin
4:15 Easter Parade
7:30 The Lodger
9pm Closing Night Party

Well there it is. Read it and weep. As you can see it's a fairly wall to wall schedule and I'm not even doing the midnight screenings. To maintain this pace you need to keep water and granola bars on your person. Which I recommend to anyone planning attending at this level. Three years ago a young women fainted in line for the Peter O'Toole interview and while it could have been the excitement of seeing Mr. O'Toole my money is on she hadn't eaten all day. So don't be the fainter keep some snacks you can eat in line.

If you haven't got tickets to The TCM Classic Film Festival I don't believe there are any available. You can try for TCM Film Festival individual screening tickets if there is space available after pass holders have been seated for $20. This sounds like a long shot but with so many great events happening simultaneously there are often seats available.


Finally, if you are visiting from out of town, you may have heard, that we have had quite a bit of earthquake activity here in LA. Well, it is true but it's nothing to worry about, though I would recommend you do just a few things to be prepared, just in case. The first thing is bring a small flash light and keep it by your bed. If there is even a strongish moderate earthquake it can cause blackouts and hotels can be very dark. Also be sure you know where the stairs exit is on your hotel floor. Do not take elevator to get out of the building. Keep a pair of shoes upside down (to keep glass from getting in them) by your bed. After earthquakes hospitals are full of people with cut feet. Even if only a glass of water falls off your bedside table and breaks, if you step on it, your TCM Classic Film Festival could be ruined. My last advise is to keep your devices charged. I know when you're using it all day this sounds impossible, but take every opportunity to charge up. You can also invest in portable charger, that is a device you charge up separately from your phone and then use to charge your phone when you're away from an outlet. In all likelihood you won't need any of these but just in case I think it's a good idea to be cautious.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I've Joined Mad Men Podcast

I'm very excited to be joining the Mad Men Podcast for this final season of the show. Last night we recorded it's first live video cast. It's a little rough, and I definitely need to work on sitting still while I talk on camera. We'll be back in two weeks with our predictions for this season then on Monday April 14th we'll have our recap of the first episode of this final season.

On this podcast we talk about our upcoming giveaway of a Joan doll. We also recap the Mad Men Paley Fest panel with ridiculous spin off ideas and Pete Campbell's hair secrets., Finally, we discuss all the teaser pictures and videos for season 7 that are rolling out and whether they are decipherable. Hope you enjoy our first effort!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Mad Men Paley Fest Live Stream

More and more Mad Men pictures and video are coming out every day, in the build up to season 7 premiere April 13th. Today we get this collage of everyone!

Season six left us at Thanksgiving 1968. Looking at these pictures I'm guessing we won't jump forward too far this season. I always think of 1969 as being the beginning of the modern era we now live in. It's when films like Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, and Midnight Cowboy came out. Both examples of more realistic representations of the world than earlier films. It makes me wonder if Mathew Weiner had always intended to end the series in 1969-1970.

I'm looking forward to watching the live stream of the Mad Men panel on the Paley Fest March 21st. Hoping Weiner is at least a little forth coming about this final season. One of the things I really hope is revealed this season is Joan's respiratory issue. For those of you who have been reading my Mad Men posts for a long time, know I say this every season. Joan has, over the years, referenced hospital stays and exhibited respitory issues. It's never been explained and it makes me extremely curious!!!

Stay tuned for news on my co hosting on The Mad Men Podcast this season and a fun giveaway.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Get @PBS Antiques Roadshow Tickets Now

You have just a few weeks left to apply for tickets to the 2014 PBS Antiques Roadshow Summer Tour. Applicants will be selected at random to receive tickets. Your chances of being selected will depend on the number of eligible applicants for each city and are not affected by how early or late you apply within the application period.

ANTIQUES ROADSHOW will be visiting:

Bismarck, ND May 31
Santa Clara, CA June 7
Birmingham, AL June 21
Austin, TX June 28
Albuquerque, NM July 19
Chicago, IL July 26
New York, NY August 9
Charleston, WV August 16

Online ticket application ends at 11:59PM PT, Monday, April 7, 2014.

Here are the rules

• Online ticket application is open only to residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Canada who are 18 or older. No purchase necessary, void where prohibited.

• Ticket recipients are selected by a random drawing and will receive two tickets. There is a two-ticket limit per household.

• Only one application per household, either postcard or online, to one city, will be accepted. Duplicate applications from the same household or mailing address will be discarded.

• Your name, mailing address, and a valid email address will be necessary to apply online.

• Tickets will be mailed to successful applicants approximately three weeks prior to the event date.

Friday, March 14, 2014

TCM Movie Location Tour In LA

TCM Movie Location Tour Bus in LA

UPDATE: TCM Movie Locations Tour has returned. Beginning June 26th.

TCM invited me on a preview of their new TCM Movie Location Tour in LA yesterday. The tour is only set to run 20 days March 14-April 14th Friday Saturday and Sunday, beginning today. The good news is the tour is free the bad news is that it is completely booked and has been since about an hour after it was announced last week.It is possible that there will be cancellations and you can check with StarLine Tours to get on a wait list. If you are really enthusiastic you could just show up at tour times and see if anyone doesn't show up. With the tickets being free it is likely some people will drop out unannounced.

If you have already got tickets or manage to get one here are a few tips. The tour is 3 hours if you think you might get thirsty only water is allowed on the bus. If you think you might get hungry only small snacks are allowed on the bus (nothing messy). There is also a wind consideration. The bus is mostly windows and many of them are open for better picture taking. If you have long hair you may want to bring a rubber band to hold it back.

Former Chaplin Studios

Paramount Picrues Studio
 The tour includes drive bys of many studios including Charlie Chaplin's (above). It is now Jim Henson Studio which is why you might be able to make out Kermit in the little tramp costume above the gate. I visited this studio several years ago and got this video of the interior of Charlie Chaplin's Studio.
We also went by these iconic Paramount gates. You'll have to take the tour to see the even more iconic single arch gate made famous in Sunset Blvd.

From Hollywood we continued to downtown LA seeing many historic theatres and the no longer in existence film noir Bunker Hill area.  We made a stop at the Bradbury Building. The building's wrought iron stair railings and elevator have been in DOA, Blade Runner, and The Artist to name a few.

Bradbury Building and elevator
Bradbury Building Stairs
If you peek out the back door of the Bradbury you get this classic bonus, Anthony Quinn dancing on the Bradbury floors. I don't know who Victor Clothing Co are, but thanks for this great mural.

 Our downtown adventure also took us to Union Station. The historic train station has been shot in from exterior to interior.You can see it in too many films to list from the early 1940's to today and probably tomorrow too.

UNion Station LA

Interior Union Station LA Ceiling
Interior Union Station Originl Seaing

 No Hollywood tour would be complete without a view of The Hollywood sign. We got a nice long look at it driving back to Hollywood from Downtown on Sunset Blvd. Along the way we saw great shooting sites of Laurel and Hardy shorts, The Echo Park Lake that was the back drop for films from silents to today, and myriad more tidbits.

Hollywood Sign

Oh yeah, and we had our TCM celebrity guest Ben Mankiewicz. Just FYI Ben will not be on the tour normally. Though he is in the video presentation, where he is his usual charming self.

TCM announcer Ben Mankiewicz
Though the tour is a limited addition for now let's keep the pressure on both TCM and Starline to make this a regular tour like they've done in New York. If there is demand I'm sure they will do it.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Need For Speed Opens March 14

By John D. (Elise's lucky husband)

Let me first say that this movie is worth seeing in a theater.  I expected the movie to be OK.  Loaded with cars and racing, mixed in with a shoestring script to tie the racing together.  What I was treated to at the theater was an exciting  roller coaster ride of beautiful cars with rich roaring engines filmed in a way that made me feel like I was there with them.  The script wasn't too bad either.

My wife had accompanied me to the movie. Not being into action movies, she said to me as we entered the theater that she had forgotten her earplugs.  I laughed.  

Fords custom creation for the movie - Wow!
The movie has a little of the style of 60s and 70s car culture movies, and starts out with late-night street racing between 60s  muscle cars.  Fun, fun, fun.  The body of the movie revolves around a classic Shelby Mustang that has been tricked out with state of the art mods including heads-up-display above the dash.  Real pretty.  The Shelby goes from East Coast to West Coast with both police and bad guys in pursuit, ala Cannonball Run.  All of this is done with ground and air support that give it a little Smokey and the Bandit feel.  The final race is a high stakes underground winner-take-all with European super-cars flying at 200+ mph.

The revenge story that enfolds between the high speed car scenes is okay.  The mostly humorous dialogue is good.  I liked the characters and the actors that were along for the ride, and the action seemed non-stop. 

What gives this movie its merit is the realistic feeling that the incredible visuals and audio portray.  I don't know how well it will hold up on my 46" TV at home, but in the theater with the big screen and the multi-speaker sound system that makes your body vibrate with the hum and roar of the engines, this movie kicks ass.  The filming of this movie really was a big step up, with scenes from car interiors that made me excited like I was playing the video game.  I felt like I got off a 2 hour rollercoaster ride after it was over.  And, it was a smooth, tear invoking, good rollercoaster ride.  As for my wife...she told me she liked it too (with the stipulation that it was good for an action movie).  The movie was not in 3D, and I don't know if a 3D version is available, but I would go back to see it.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Get A Peek at Mad Men Coming Season

Update with the season 7 poster 3-7 2:31

Mad Men returns to AMC April 13th. They released this tiny peek, just to make us crazy. It isn't much just Don getting off a plane. Of course I watched it a bunch of times just to see if there were any clues in how he was putting on his hat.

I came up with nothing. But Don goes somewhere in season 7. That might be enough to hold me for this last month until we get our first half of this last season. If you are joining us late I'm including a Don Draper synopsis' AMC has released. These are very broad brush strokes, so you really should immediate plan a Mad Men binge.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Grand Budapest Hotel Opens Friday

Wes Anderson's new film The Grand Budapest Hotel opens this Friday March 7th. If you love Anderson's films, like I do, you won't be disappointed here. It is all the witty, quirky antics of an all star cast you would expect. I can't be certain, because of all the amazing wigs, mustaches and makeup, but I think Wes managed to get the vast majority of all of his previous cast family in this. There are lots of small roles played by the likes of Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Tilda Swinton, and the list goes on and on.

The film itself tells the story of a luxury hotel Concierge (Ralph Fiennes) and his favorite lobby boy (Tony Revolori). You would think these two wouldn't get up to much but in Anderson's ridiculously stylized world they run amok. The Concierge, Gustave, has affairs with his elderly female guests and when one of them dies and leaves him something priceless in her will her family isn't happy and the chase begins. His faithful lobby boy, Zero, is there to lend a hand in any way necessary. The entire film has a caper quality to it complete with chase scenes, escapes, and clandestine confessions in churches.

It really is a beautiful film to look at and as always Anderson's screenplay is perfectly farcicle. It reminds me in someways of comedy films of the era it is set in, between the world wars in what I believe is eastern Europe. The characters, set and costumes definitely have that look to them. Certainly precode based on the language.

If you don't believe me just watch this trailer...